Dimensions of Learning in Religious Education
This is a learning model proposed by Hyde and Rymarz (2008) and adapted from many different theorists based on pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. It can be used to approach teaching of the Sacraments by acknowledging and devising experiences that address outcomes for the three dimensions of learning. Our teaching normally focuses on the knowledge or understandings students gain. However, Hyde and Rymarz (2008) highlight that focusing purely on this dimension insufficiently engages our students and does not create deepened learning experiences. By designing learning and teaching experiences that address these three dimensions it is hoped that learning will be transformed and students will have a deepened and rich understanding of their faith. It is also hoped that inner reflection of what they learn will lead to outward action.
Dimensions of Learning
The Cognitive Dimension: According to Hyde and Rymarz (2008), this area refers to the “knowledge, skills and abilities” of our students (p. 116). The outcomes for this dimension relate to the specific knowledge or understandings students will have by the end of a lesson or unit (Hyde & Rymarz, 2008, p. 116). These outcomes also place no assumption on a child’s faith background or experience.
The Affective Dimension: This dimension looks at how learning affects a student. Emotional learning relates to how a student processes emotional information and how well they can "perceive, assimilate, understand and manage their emotions" (Hyde & Rymarz, 2008, p. 119). Religious Education outcomes for this dimension involve the feelings, emotions, reactions students have to what is being taught.
The Spiritual Dimension: This dimension is “essential for the effective functioning of both our intellectual and emotional” learning as without spiritual learning, human intelligence cannot be fully explained (Hyde & Rymarz, 2008, p. 121). The spiritual dimension involves one’s ability to relate knowledge and understandings to their own lives or problems to create richer and deeper meaning (Hyde & Rymarz, 2008). According to de Souza (2006), “spiritual intelligence corresponds to the spiritual/inner reflective dimension” (as cited in Hyde & Rymarz, 2008, p. 121). Planning for all three dimensions of learning, promotes that teaching goes beyond surface understanding to a deeper, engagement level of learning. Spiritual learning, combined with cognitive and affective learning encourages an outward action or expression.
Examples of Cognitive Outcomes:
1. Name the different objects found at Mass and their purpose
2.Construct a diorama to create the setting for Sunday Mass
Examples of Affective Outcomes:
1. By the end of this unit it is hoped that students will have an opportunity to:
Appreciate the importance of the Eucharist
Reflect on the Church’s involvement in the Sacraments
Display an interest in learning about the features of the Church…
Note: when creating affective outcomes they should compliment the desired cognitive outcomes, as these two dimensions work together for effective learning (Hyde & Rymarz, 2008).
Examples of Spiritual Outcomes:
1. It is hoped that students will reflect inwardly to decide upon ways that they will react to the proceeding sacraments on their faith journey.